The different colors on Google Maps generally refer to varying types of government jurisdictions, natural features, and civic areas…
- Green – Vegetation, darker shades mean more dense
- Tan – Sand & scrub, lighter shades mean less vegetation
- White – Void of any vegetation, sand dunes, mountain peaks
- Light Gray – Population areas, cities, suburbs
- Medium Gray – Military areas
- Gray-Green – Tundra, lava flows, and areas of rocky soil
- Opaque Layer with Faint Outlines – Indian reservations
- Curved Lines – Changes in vegetation
- Angular Lines – Boundaries of federal & state jurisdictions (parks, forests, military, city limits)
What Do the Different Colors Mean on Google Maps?
Google Maps does not provide a color key or map legend. However, they have published some insight on what their colors mean. Refer to, “Exploring Color on Google Maps“.
- Green shades represent vegetation… darker green = dense forest, lighter green = light forest with brush
- Tan shades represent sand, grass, and scrub… light tan = sand with light brush, medium tan = grass and light brush, dark tan = grasslands
- White represents lack of any vegetation… sand dunes, mountain peaks
- Light gray – population centers and suburbs
- Blue represents bodies of water
- Medium Gray represents military areas… military bases, bombing fields
- Opaque Layers with Light Border represents Indian reservations… Tribal nations
- Gray-Green shades represent areas of Tundra, Lava Flows, or rocky soil conditions.